Thursday, November 12, 2009

Charlie Crist's Coast-to-Coast Charter

After chasing the wind-blown pages of our daily Pensacola Newsletter all over the neighborhood this morning, because once again it's lighter than air, we wound up with some sort of sports half-page, a few classified ads, and the front page. That's it. Here's hoping the fishes enjoy the Local News and Editorial sections, if there are any.

What we're left with is just enough to know that the PNJ is linking Governor Crist to an accused big-time drug dealer, Pedro "Pete" Benevides. Kris Wernowksy reports that Benevides is a Brazilian-born Orlando multi-millionaire currently residing in a jail cell in Pensacola. (See his federal mug shot, left).

The governor's connection is through Benevides' "Skyview Aviation," a charter jet company. Last year it "ferried Gov. Charlie Crist to a climate-change conference hosted by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in Beverly Hills."

Apparently, Charlie rode in style. It was a $60,000 per round-trip style of flying, free of charge.

What kind of airplane ride this side of low earth orbit costs $60,000? Regular people can catch a roundtrip from Tallahassee to L.A. for under $400. Coast-to-coast charters cost around $6,000 to $10,000. So, what could possibly justify a price like sixty grand?

"It's like driving a Bentley," a Skyview spokesman told Wernowsky. "Fourteen seats with a bed in the back, plasma TVs. ... It's a nice plane. Real nice."

Somehow, we think that "real nice" remark needed italics for emphasis, so we added them. It looks to us like someone is sending a signal to someone else. What could it be? The cabin meals came with a side dish of white powder? The in-flight movie was being filmed as everyone partied?

The charter ride was so nice, apparently, that "the company received other requests from the Governor's Office to fly the governor." But Florida state Republican Party chairman Jim Greer is eagerly telling the press, these days, that Skyview turned the governor down when he begged for a repeat.

We'll soon see about that. We're guessing Skyview's reservation requests, flight book, and other files soon will be revealed. If Benevides didn't have a cabin-cam recording everything that went on, he deserves to go to jail. He's too stupid to be bribing politicians.

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